A top U.S. diplomat and expert on Ukraine testified to Congress yesterday that the Obama administration — with former Vice President Joe Biden as its point man — orchestrated the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating a company connected to the Biden family, sources familiar with the testimony told The Federalist.
The testimony of George Kent, a State Department official who works on the agency’s Ukraine portfolio, directly contradicts claims that the Obama administration was merely following the lead of the so-called international community in demanding the firing of Viktor Shokin, a controversial Ukrainian prosecutor who was reportedly investigating Burisma, a global energy company long suspected of corruption and money laundering. In 2014, Burisma paid Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, tens of thousands of dollars to sit on its board despite the younger Biden’s complete lack of expertise or professional experience running a multi-national oil and gas concern.
Kent told lawmakers on Tuesday that the Obama administration spearheaded the efforts to have Shokin removed from his position as the top federal prosecutor in Ukraine. Kent said the international community — namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western nations within the European Union — were deferential to U.S. directives on the matter. At a 2018 event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, Joe Biden — who was tasked by then-President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. government’s efforts in Ukraine — bragged about threatening to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee if the Ukrainian government refused to fire Shokin.
“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,” Biden said. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours.”
“I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours,’” Biden recalled. “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b-tch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
After Shokin was fired, he was replaced by Yuri Lutsenko, who also has been dogged by allegations of corruption. The Obama administration never demanded Lutsenko’s ouster, despite worries that Lutsenko was similarly corrupt and untrustworthy.
Allies of Biden, who is currently vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, have defended the former vice president from charges of improperly taking official actions that could financially benefit his son by claiming that the international community, rather than Biden and the Obama administration, were behind the efforts to get rid of Shokin. Kent’s testimony, however, indicates it was Biden and the Obama administration who were running the show, not the so-called international community.
Kent also testified that concerns about corruption within Burisma, where Hunter Biden inexplicably served as a highly paid board member for five years, were openly voiced long before Trump became president. According to Kent, he personally raised red flags about a 2016 initiative between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Burisma due to concerns the company was tied to government corruption in the country. Kent testified that USAID was gearing up for an event with Burisma that involved children, and that he felt uncomfortable seeing children used as photo op props for a company with a reputation for corruption and graft.
Kent’s testimony was demanded by House Democrats as part of their long-running attempts to overturn the 2016 election results and remove Trump from office. Although Democrats claim their hearings are part of a formal impeachment investigation, party leaders have steadfastly refused to hold a vote on the matter authorizing an impeachment investigation. As a result, numerous top Trump administration officials have refused to appear before the Democratic inquisition, citing a lack of legal authority for Democrats’ efforts.